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Automated Telephone Prompts – Lou’s Thoughts and Frustrations

How many times have you called a business and have been asked to press a certain key on your phone to speak with someone in a certain department of that business?

Please Remain On The Line and Someone Will Be With You Shortly
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

An example is “please press one if you’d like to speak to someone on sales.” Usually when I call a business, I’m not sure which number to press, because by the end of all the selections, nothing matched what I needed. It usually ends up either, “please remain on the line, and someone will be with you shortly,” or “please press zero and the operator will direct your call.” Nine times out of ten, it usually ends up that I have to press zero because I didn’t hear anything I needed.

Here’s a thought, just put a receptionist on the phones. Not only will we not have to sit and listen to the laundry list of the “directory” selections, but my call will end up being directed to exactly where it needs to go, and you’ll keep someone employed.

Another fun little annoyance with these prompts is when I hear, “please listen carefully because our menu selections have changed.” This is great but I never called your company before, so how would I know what the old selections were? I think they do this because they want you to stay on the phone and hear their choices, and you won’t try using the prompts before they say what they are. Maybe there could be a game show called “Beat the Prompts.” Contestants go on the show and see which one gets to the correct prompts first. The winner will get a new cell phone and service contract.

This doesn’t go for every company that uses this system. Some are actually very accurate and efficient. How many other people feel the same way?

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